To tell or not to tell? (discussing vaginismus with girlfriends)

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    Hi ladies. I’ve been e-mailing back and forth with another one of Dr. P’s formerly treated patients. She’s a wonderful person. In the course of doing this, she came up with a great topic/question for the group. This is what she wrote:

    1. Discussing vaginismus with girl friends. I know for me, I basically lied to all my friends (except for a couple) about my vaginismus. It was so embarrassing for me and even now that it is all over, I still haven’t told most of my friends. It could be a good discussion topic to see how other women’s friends reacted if they did tell them about their vaginismus.

    I would love to hear all of your thoughts here ladies. Have you told your girl friends about vaginismus? What were their reactions?


    Hi Heather. I haven’t gone public to any of my closest friends or family members yet as I haven’t found the use of doing this so far, however I’ve been opened to my doctors and going public by distributing pamphlets about vaginismus and ‘the cure’ with them. There are pros and cons of going public, I believe that when you go public with a trustworthy contact only good things can happen.


    Personally, I had no luck discussing my problem with any of my female friends. Most either said very little and then changed the subject, or expressed confusion and a sort of shrug–like “yeah sorry I have no idea what that’s like, can’t help you.” This was all some time ago though, I don’t have any friends where I live now and I have only one female friend I talk to occasionally online. My male friends have been much more sympathetic and willing to listen and offer suggestions. Technically speaking I did not raise the term “vaginismus” itself with anyone, because at that time I either didn’t know what I had or was working with the VVS/vulvodynia diagnosis. I think the only woman I’ve been able to discuss it with is my bf’s mother (lolhawkward amirite), she is the one that found Dr. Pacik for me… but hey I’ll take it 🙂


    I told some girls I felt like I could trust. I’m not sure if they believed me that I have a problem, but they were sympathetic. Most of the people that are around me understand that I’m weird anyway, because I’m into metaphysics and I’m just the resident weirdo in town.


    I have been very open with those around me about vaginismus. I don’t want anyone to have to go through what I went through. If I can help one person by being open about this condition I will have accomplished something good. Vaginismus is nothing to be ashamed of. I have tried using humor and a sense of light-heartedness when it comes to dealing with vaginismus. I would say that 95% of the people (men and women) have been understanding and interested in learning more about vaginismus.


    I tried discussing it with a friend who I’ve known for about 10 years, and who knew I had trouble with intercourse prior to my learning that it was vaginismus, and she just seemed uncomfortable, like she couldn’t wait for me to stop talking. I was trying to explain the treatment to her, but like I said, it seemed like she just wanted it to be over. At this time, I had just learned about the treatment and was feeling very anxious about what I should do. I’ve also discussed it a little with my mom. She wants to help so she’s open to listening, but it’s still a little uncomfortable. I discussed it also with a work friend and she was open to talking but she’s an extremely open person, especially about sexual matters. I kind of wish I hadn’t told her and kept it more private. All in all, I’ve found that for me personally, it’s better to just keep quiet about my vagnisismus.


    To be honest , I think talking about vaginismus can be complicated because of the way media and popular culture treats sexuality today. It seems to me that there is a “default” understanding relative to sexuality, ie just do it. It would appear that once you are in an adult relationship (possibly defined as post 18, 19 or 20 years old, a few dates in — 3, 4, 5?) your relationship would (and should!) include sexual relations. If you do not have sex (for religious or other personal reasons), you are clearly outside that norm. And, if you are a guy and marry a woman without having had sex with her, you are simply naive (or, again, that’s what many people would believe). Why would you not check to see if you and your presumed-spouse are not sexually compatible!
    For many people (at least for me – and for some others on this site), we did not fully learn about our vaginismus until we attempted to have sex — often on our wedding night & the honeymoon nights that followed. Disclosing our vaginismus to anyone else likely will force us to reveal some rather personal convictions. Plus, many people,hearing our dilemma, naturally assume that we simply must be sexually repressed. Why else would we hold such a position? And, why else would our bodies “turn on us” in this way? If you are not talking to someone caring and open-minded, they could be very quick to judge or “diagnose” the source of this condition. YOU!

    If your friends and/or family share some of these pop-culture views, I think it might be very difficult to talk about vaginismus. However, if you have friends and family who share – or at least understand -your values, talking about vaginismus might not be as difficult. There may be some surprise – even shock- in their reactions, particularly if you have been “pretending” to be sexually active for some time.

    Of course, there may not be any real reason to share such an intimate part of your life. While it can be freeing to live without secrets (psycholigists might call it a key to integrity and wholeness, in many cases), your situation can be kept between you and your spouse/partner. Personally, I felt compelled to share our struggle when my husband and I decided to see Dr. Pacik. We would be crossing state lines, taking a fair amount of anesthetic, and receiving medical treatment. I felt my mother (and my father, too) had a right to know. (While you are not in any real danger, there is always some risk when undergoing a procedure like this.) I then chose to share our story with one sister and several close friends. And, those psychologist are right: it is/was freeing! My husband also has a close (guy) friend and a tight relationship with his sister. Again, it helped him to be able to talk about our plans with people he trusted and respected. All have been extremely compassionate and supportive.

    To be truthful, once we successfully consummate our marriage (I am now Day 6 post-procedure), I plan to tell a few others about how we have overcome this battle. I am very proud of the work (emotional and physical!) that my husband and I have done in these past few months. I think a few trusted others would benefit in knowing how to remain faithful to each other during such tricky times!


    I haven’t shared with any friends, mostly because I’m still inconsistent with my successes and while I don’t think the ones that I would choose would be anything other than supportive, I’d get upset if I was asked about my progress if it was during a period where I’d been having trouble.

    I did make a point to update my primary care physician about my progress when I was in (for something unrelated) the office last week. She never knew much about vaginismus in general, but was interested in learning more.

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